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minwax high build poly will not dry

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Forum topic by Stevebro posted 269 days ago 1273 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Stevebro

4 posts in 333 days


269 days ago

Well I hope I can get some help with this. I bought some minwax high build polyurethane varnish hoping I could put 1 or 2 coats on a table and be done. I put on 1 coat and found I easy though almost immediately i had brush drag when I tried to smooth out brush marks. The table was in my air conditioned kitchen and to my shock it was not dry the following day. In fact a week later it was still tacky. After 9 days it seemed dry and we had friends over to dinner. On cleaning up I say the impression of our plates on the finish through a cloth place mat. I called minwax, who suggested letting it dry and wiping down with thinner to accelerate the drying. I have let the table be for 4 months, but am wondering how do I go about repairing the finish? Can I just sand out the marks and recoat? Or do I have to strip this table. It is walnut and had been oiled a month before I applied varnish. Minwax said light sand and a coat of their fast dry, but I am leery of their products now.
thanks, Stephen


10 replies so far

View hydro's profile

hydro

208 posts in 335 days


#1 posted 269 days ago

You identified the problem at “oiled a month before”. Did you use “Boiled Linseed Oil”? That stuff takes forever to cure and the oil was likely not completely catalyzed. That will inhibit the dryers in the poly top coat. Since this is a table top and will be subject to use, I would strip it down and re-finish.

Once stripped, sand lightly, use a stain base coat, let cure for 2+ days, then re-do the poly coats. Personally, I would use clear gloss poly for the build coats since it does not contain flatteners that cloud the finish. If you want a satin look, use the satin or semi-gloss for the top coat only.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1611 posts in 1077 days


#2 posted 269 days ago

Well, I’ll throw in my 2ยข. I wouldn’t try to repair, but at this point you may have nothing to loose. Smoothing it out (I would try a card scraper) and then recoating it may solve the problem. If you are unhappy with it, then a strip and re finish may be in order. If you try the smooth and recoat approach, the new finish doesn’t need to be a brushed on thick coat, you could thin some 50/50 with mineral spirits, and wipe the new coat on with a cloth. I want to add something. I was surprised at what the Minwax rep told you. Varnish is a reactive finish, that is the varnish (resins cooked together with a drying oil) actually chemically combines with oxygen (reacts) to cure. Putting thinner on it does nothing to speed that process up, though it probably didn’t slow it down any either. The thinner would simply evaporate and the varnish keeps curing. Adding a bit of air movement, and maybe some warmth would both speed up the reaction. I’m not sure what you mean by “oiled a month before”, but I’m doubtful it caused the problem. Regardless of what you try, I wish you the best.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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hydro

208 posts in 335 days


#3 posted 269 days ago

Fred, I have to disagree with your comment on the oil. That is the only “wild card” in the OP. If Minwax was applied over dry walnut, there is no reason for it not to cure. Since the OP did not specify the type of oil, I would guess it had some effect on the driers of the Poly finish.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 622 days


#4 posted 269 days ago

If Minwax was applied over dry walnut, there is no reason for it not to cure.
True, but minwax doesn’t need a reason not to cure, it just does what it wants when it wants. My own experience with applying minwax over a clean, bare surface is over in the review section (search for “lemon marmalade”).

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1611 posts in 1077 days


#5 posted 269 days ago

There will always be differences of opinion on forums like this. I’ve used a lot of BLO, and the most I ever waited for it to dry was one week when being top coated with waterbornes. I’ve never had a problem with anything not curing on top of it once the BLO itself had cured enough. With most other finishes I only wait one day, with shellac even less (same day, sometimes). Now, the OP said the table was oiled a month before he topcoated; I would bet the month’s SS check (if they get sent out) that if it was BLO it didn’t impact the curing of the varnish. I didn’t say in my original replay, but I was thinking along the lines ofwhat Justjoe said about Minwax. I consider them the Harbor Freight of the finishing world (I hope that isn’t too insulting to HF).

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1139 posts in 953 days


#6 posted 269 days ago

I had a similar experience with Minwax High-Build, and I didn’t use any oil. I applied a sealcoat of 1LB dewaxed shellac, which was sanded back when dry. About a week later I put on 2-3 coats of the Minwax, it seemed to go fine. A couple weeks later it went into my daughters room, and the little alarm clock on top left an impression in the finish. I switched to Arm-R-Seal as my go-to finish and have not had any problems since.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Stevebro's profile

Stevebro

4 posts in 333 days


#7 posted 269 days ago

Thanks fellas for some ideas. I have given away the balance of the minwax high build and moved to arm r seal. After reading a review by a poor guy who coated all the floors in his house, I feel better. He could not recoat or walk on them for a week. I am going to try a little light sanding/scraping to see if I can smooth the ridges and recoat with minwax fast dry for 2 reasons.
1. The manufacturer recommended this and said it will adhere well. 2. I cringe at the thought of a complete strip of a walnut veneer table top. I can just see the veneer peeling off. Steve

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1139 posts in 953 days


#8 posted 269 days ago

If you’re going to do that, you may try thinning it a bit and wiping it on (I use a blue shop towel, the kind that look like paper towels…but blue. They don’t leave lint or fall apart when soaked). Sounds like you have a coat built up already, and you don’t need much build. If you sand it smooth and do a couple real thin wiping coats, you may be in business. Only caveat here is I’m not sure how thinned the “Fast Dry” mixture really is.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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Stevebro

4 posts in 333 days


#9 posted 269 days ago

Thanks Ed, I think I will try wiping the minwax fast dry on a scrap and see how it goes. I have about 4 spots to sand.
Wen I am through I will donate the leftover minwax products to the local Restore. The silver lining is this disaster has pushed me to find new products to use and indeed to find this forum. I have now been using arm r seal with success and about to try waterlox on a project. Lots of good info on this site. Thaks to al for the help. Steve Brown

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BinghamtonEd

1139 posts in 953 days


#10 posted 268 days ago

Glad you’ve found something that works for you. Before I got into woodworking, I thought poly was poly, and Minwax was reputable stuff. Once I started using better finishes, I was amazed at the difference.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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